A quick-fire brace from Scott Hogan helped Brentford overcome playoff-chasing Cardiff City at Griffin Park this evening.
Two goals in three minutes took his season’s tally to three after returning from injury, but although Kenneth Zohore’s goal set up a tense final few minutes, it proved only a consolation.
Josh Clarke – who replaced Maxime Colin at right-back – proved to be an early bright spark with a series of surging runs out of defence but admittedly, that was as much excitement the first half could muster.
The Bluebirds’ couldn’t properly impose themselves on the game; Anthony Pilkington nodded a Peter Whittingham corner wide for the game’s first chance after 11 minutes, before the former flashed a shot past the post and Joe Ralls blasted over from Whittingham’s short free-kick.
Brentford meanwhile failed to force David Marshall into breaking a sweat in the entire first half; Saunders’ 25-yard free-kick went unchallenged, whilst Ryan Woods and Nico Yennaris saw good opportunities go begging after smart build-up play.
The half-time break ignited the game’s spark, with Brentford seeing the better of the early chances when Alan McCormack hit a speculative effort from outside the box that Marshall initially spilled, but claimed soon after with Lasse Vibe closing in.
Vibe then went close himself when he pressured Sean Morrison and claimed possession in a dangerous area; the Danish striker played a one-two with Woods, but could only produce a weak shot that was easily claimed by the goalkeeper.
David Button produced a good stop from Pilkington with around 20 minutes to play, but with eight remaining, Bidwell’s corner was smashed against the bar by Yoann Barbet and Scott Hogan was on hand to fire home his second goal since returning from injury.
Just three minutes later, Vibe led a counter-attack but unselfishly played Hogan in, who hit a low shot into the far corner for his third in as many games.
Substitute Kenneth Zohore netted after some defensive confusion to set up an eventful finale, but Brentford managed to hold firm and continue their recent Championship revival.